Shaky Pillars or Strong Pillars?

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Eigbiremolen, Godstime O.
Orji, Anthony
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African Economic Research Consortium
Substantial empirical evidence now exists in the literature that shows that higher education is a determinant of income, can produce both private and societal benefits, facilitates economic growth, and improves technological catch-up. There is also, now, a general recognition that higher education is a key driver of economic competitiveness in an increasingly knowledge-driven global economy, which has made higher education more important than ever before in a developing region like Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Thus, access to higher education provides a pathway to sustainable growth and development, which is also in line with the 4th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4). Although more recent evidence on the benefits of higher education has led to an acknowledgment of the importance of higher education in Ethiopia and other SSA countries, little or nothing is known about the life-cycle determinants (i.e., how education and wealth from an early stage of life affect education opportunity in the future) of access to higher education in Ethiopia and the wider SSA region. Apart from current socio-economic factors, early child and family characteristics could play an important role in determining access to higher education.